Crisis hotline, service center provider cuts ties with county

RI International, a mental health and substance use crisis service provider, will stop providing crisis services on behalf of Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) such as the Crisis Now hotline and the Montgomery County Crisis Receiving Center later this month.

RI International informed Montgomery County ADAMHS on Wednesday that it would no longer be delivering crisis services in Montgomery County effective May 22.

The Montgomery County Crisis Receiving Center will remain open until May 22. It is unclear if the center will be closed after May 22 or if Montgomery County ADAMHS will contract with another provider prior to May 22.

“Montgomery County ADAMHS is working hard to identify a provider for the seamless transition of crisis services. We plan to share more details with the community in the coming weeks,” said Tina Rezash Rogal, director of strategic initiatives and communication at Montgomery County ADAMHS.

Trio of services

RI International was the service provider for the three-tiered approach Montgomery County ADAMHS and other partners like the Montgomery County Jail Coalition have been working to put in place in recent years to offer quick help to those going through a mental health crisis in order to separate those calls from calls for service to law enforcement.

The Crisis Now hotline (833-580-CALL or 833-580-2255) in Montgomery County is separate from 988 and launched approximately six months ahead of 988. It has been managed by RI International and funded by Montgomery County ADAMHS.

It was previously believed that 988 would replace Crisis Now, but Montgomery County ADAMHS continued to operate Crisis Now due to Crisis Now providing local services and other additional services.

“For us, it is our 988,” Helen Jones-Kelley, executive director of Montgomery County ADAMHS, said in November 2023.

The Crisis Now hotline operates from 7 a.m. to midnight, with calls after midnight transferring to the 988 call centers. The 988 call center assigned to Montgomery County will also transfer some of its calls to the Crisis Now hotline, according to Montgomery County ADAMHS.

Crisis Now receives approximately 1,600 to 1,800 calls a month, according to Joy Brunson-Nsubuga, chief operating officer for RI International, last year. Brunson-Nsubuga also said RI International dispatches their mobile unit between 100 and 140 times a month.

Mobile crisis units, crisis receiving center

In May 2023, Montgomery County ADAMHS received $3 million in federal funding to create new and strengthen existing mobile crisis response teams, to be led by RI International. The funding from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is a four-year grant.

The crisis response teams respond to mental health and substance use crises in high-need areas in coordination with local law enforcement. One of the goals behind the crisis response teams was to reduce the number of calls made to law enforcement and could connect people to treatment instead of sending them to jail, officials previously said.

The Montgomery County Crisis Receiving Center has been funded through a combination of federal and state grants and also a portion of Montgomery County levy dollars, according to Montgomery County ADAMHS last year, which also said Montgomery County ADAMHS invested $2.3 million in federal, state and local dollars to fund the call center and the mobile crisis response teams.

The crisis receiving center operates as a “living-room style” emergency facility and offers a place where adults with short-term crisis needs can go to receive care and support. The amenities include the facility’s 16 reclining chairs, where people in crisis can rest and talk over next steps with nurses, psychology professionals, social workers and others.

RI International and ADAMHS originally wanted to put the crisis receiving center at the former AAA building at 825 S. Ludlow St., but the Dayton Board of Zoning Appeals denied a variance request in March 2022.

RI International and Montgomery County ADAMHS then settled on a location at 601 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd. in Dayton — site of the former St. Elizabeth and Elizabeth Place medical facilities―for the crisis receiving center.

In April 2023, Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said the sheriff’s office, on average, receives between 120 to 160 calls concerning a mental health issue each week. These calls range from someone deputies can talk to and connect to resources to people who are hurting themselves or others.

Streck previously said it’s not uncommon for his deputies to respond to a call, “pink slip” them and have them released before their incident report is even finished. They end up responding to another call for that individual where they are ultimately taken to the Montgomery County Jail.

Getting “pink-slipped” refers to when someone is brought to a hospital, such as by law enforcement, to undergo an involuntary mental health assessment. The individual may be hospitalized and go through the civil commitment process through the county probate court or may get released after the assessment.

Those seeking mental health support have other options, including:

  • Connect to resources for mental health & substance use at
  • Call 988 – National Mental Health Hotline
  • Text 4Hope to 741741 – Crisis Text Line
  • Call 937-528-7777 – Miami Valley Warmline

Those experiencing a mental health crisis and needing immediate care should call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

The Dayton Daily News reached out to RI International for comment.